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As all that is solid melts to air and everything holy is profaned...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Sin is your salvation..

Thanks to the Mighty Penguin and 96 Tapes, the new and improved Kill Your Pet Puppy comes with music too... amongst a whole mass of music I have found Blood and Roses/ Your Sin is Your Salvation...

click on 'links and downloads' here


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Anarchy in UK: Crass interviewed: 1979

"But there's not many situationists left"

Following all the excitement generated by the recent Crass revival, the Spice Girls are to release a cover version of 'Shaved Women' - and here's the photo to prove it!

Found the photo on a blog site http://invereskstreet.blogspot.com/
which has a 2005 archive article from New Society 1979- it is an essential bit of history, including a section on the Persons Unknown trial and an interview with Crass - pasted below.

Here is part of the introduction:

An A in a circle, spray painted on walls in city streets, is the nearest most citizens come into contact with anarchism. The media spectacle that the anarchists themselves find comic and tragic, has no room in its schedules for the ideas and actions of the anarchists. But they have chosen to live on the margins, in a kind of political exile, and that is the way it must be. The support group set up on behalf of the five anarchists now facing conspiracy charges at the Old Bailey is called, appropriately, Persons Unknown. Marxists say that anarchists don't live in the real world. But a lighthouse is as real as a supermarket.Some of those who shop in the supermarket of ideas are attracted to anarchy, but most aren't. It does not have the academic respectability of Marxism. (Students, after all, answer questions on alienation under examination conditions.) Yet the anarchists have always had an influence, even in Britain, out of all proportion to their numbers...

Hundreds of thousands of words produced for publication by this libertarian movement have been typeset by Ramsey, a worker at the Bread 'n Roses co-op in Camden Town which, he says, is 'the premier left typesetter'. But Ramsey, after a long involvement in anarchism, has now turned his back on it.

'It's the politics of individual paranoia.' He now believes what most Marxists believe, that anarchism is an idealist philosophy. 'It's rooted in ideas of wouldn't it be nice if . . . Instead of saying, this is the present, this is how we got here, this is how things change, the whole materialist approach. On the continent, anarchy is a more collectivist, class-based politics. Here anarchy was to do with the youth revolution, and the consumer society of the fifties and sixties.'

The most imaginative of the critics of consumerism, as Ramsay prints it, were the Situationists (who were the catalyst for the events of May '68 in France). 'They turned Marx on his head. Instead of saying that consciousness was determined at the point of production, the Situationists said it occured at the point of consumption: this is the consumer society, the society of spectacles, spectacular commodity production. But there's not many Situationists left. It fizzled out when the boom ended, and there was no longer any scope for talking about never-ending commodity production.'

Here is the interview with Crass

Anarchy in the UK was a Top Ten hit for the Sex Pistols in 1977. It introduced the word 'anarchy' to a new generation. It became fashionable again, for a time, to say you were an anarchist, to spit in the face of the normaloids. But most punk bands who attached themselves to anarchy were merely boarding the gravy train. That is why I went over to a cottage in Essex to talk to one punk band, Crass, who seemed to have thought more seriously about their anarchism.

A man in black with dyed blond hair - his name is Pete - pours tea for an old farm worker in the living room. Someone upstairs has Dr Robert, by the Beatles, at high volume. We're waiting for the rest of the band to come back from wherever it is they are; and when the farm worker has gone, Pete explains the various activities they have going here at Dial House. One of the women, he says, is away in New York, printing the latest issue of their magazine, International Anthem. Two other publications produced here are called The Eclectic and Existencil Press.

A film maker lives and works in the cottage.There is, too, what Pete calls a 'graffiti operation'. He says they have taken over a section of the Underground. 'We don't just rip the posters down or spray them. We use stencils, neatly, to qualify them. Especially sexist posters, war posters and the sort of posters for sterile things like Milton Keynes.' He spits those two words out.'A few of us going round and spraying with stencils reaches more people than the band ever could. It gives the people the feeling that something is going on; that there's a possibility of something happening; that things aren't all sewn up. You're bombarded with media which you don't ask for when you go from A to B and a lot of it is insulting and corrupt.

"But what have you got against Milton Keynes? What's wrong with it?' I asked.'I was actually working on the plans for the place. I started discovering what a complete shithole the place is. Cardboard houses, no facilities. It's just a work camp, totally sterile, offers nothing.'

It was Steve who was playing the Beatles. He comes downstairs, runs his fingers through his Vaseline-spiked hair as he tells me he ran away from home seven years ago, and has lived in this cottage for two years. A woman who drifts in says that her name is Eve and that she sings in the band.We talk about the various gigs that Crass have done - for Person's Unknown, the Leveller, Peace News, Birmingham Women's Aid - and the violence that has plagued their gigs of late. The band, it seems, has developed a following among British Movement skinheads. But Crass blame this on Rock Against Racism which, they allege, has polarised youth. 'If you're not in RAR then you're a Nazi. Now we're sandwiched between left-wing violence and right-wing violence.'

The rest of Crass show up: Andy, Phil and a man called Penny Rimbaud. Two children appear at the door and look around with interest. 'Racism and mohair suits,' says Steve, who has not said much up to now. 'That's the difference in punk music. Two years ago, you had Johnny Rotten standing on stage saying, "I am a lazy sod." So where's it all gone?'What's wrong with mohair suits, and anyway why is everyone in this room clothed in black? 'Lots of reasons,' Pete says. 'Convenience. Anonymity. I'm doing the washing at the moment; it's very convenient.'We're drinking tea in his room, which is filled with books, and I'm wondering which writers have influenced . . . 'Zen and all its offsprings,' interrupts Penny. 'Existentialism.''Zen and punk,' smiles Andy.'The American beat movement,' continues Penny. 'Kerouac or Ginsberg.' Pete says he hasn't read Kerouac or Ginsberg. Andy goes off to make another pot of tea and when he comes back announces that, 'Anarchy to me means living my own life, having respect for other people, respecting their right to do what they want to do.'

This is a long way from Black Flag, Freedom and anarcho-syndicalism. I doubt if Andy has read many books on anarchism, but he speaks of the kind of anarchy which has always been at the heart of rock'n'roll. It's my party. Do anything you want to do. I can go anywhere, cha-chang, way I choose. I can live anyhow, cha-chang, win or lose. Anyway, anyhow, anywhere I choose . . . Take your desires for reality and make your reality your desires was, I think, one of the slogans of the Situationists.

Lance Hahn on The Mob

This is just the first part of 10 000 words Lance wrote about The Mob for ' Let the Tribe Increase', the book he was working on right up until his recent death.

The Story Of The Mob by Lance Hahn 1967- 2007

“No Doves Fly Here” is one of the most powerful musical statements to come out of what we’re calling anarcho punk and if you didn’t know any better you would have it all wrong. By traditional standards, it’s barely a punk song at all, dead slow in tempo with repetitive, hypnotic bass lines. In some ways, the music is gothic with roots in songs like “Hollow Hills” by Bauhaus. Lyrically, it’s poetic. Previously, anarcho punk had great difficulty marrying poetics into their music. Poetry was meant to stand alone serving as an introduction to the song. The faster tempos and aggressive chord progressions made poetry in lyrics difficult usually coming off as cartoon-ish. But with the down tempo of “No Doves” it worked. The Mob were hippie punks. But there was something dark and ominous about a lot of their music. They were death hippies, tripping on the apocalypse. And it was all coming from the unlikely area of Yeovil.

Mark, guitarist and vocalist, “When punk came along, me and Curtis were punks overnight. We went to watch bands like the Cortinas and Siouxsie and the Slits… anyone who played in the West Country. We would take our gear along and try to play. Occasionally (very) we would succeed. I remember reading of punk in the NME and I hadn’t got through the first paragraph and I knew it was for me. I remember praying I’d like the music that went with it. There were no punk records and none on the radio. It’s hard to imagine now, but we would buy any record as it was released if it was vaguely punk; Eater, Slaughter and the Dogs, Wreckless Eric, anything!”

Even before Mark discovered punk, he had been interested in playing music.
Mark, “We had a band at school called Magnum Force. We played old rock music at school discos. We only played easy songs as I’ve never been much good at playing guitar.”
Josef, the group’s final drummer, “Up until late 1976, remember, the nucleus of the band that became The Mob still played Status Quo covers under the name 'Magnum Force'. The first real influence upon Mark was the art school decadence and dynamism of The Clash and their ilk. The second was Here & Now. Neither of us ever forgot those early Clash records...”

Mark, “I didn’t like our early music much but it was of a time. And it’s hard to see now but 1976 was a long way from ’77 and by ’78 there were millions of so-called punks.(To my mind this early music of ours sounds crap now) but It was still somehow radical back then.”

With punk changing Mark’s musical interests overnight, the times were also affecting his political outlook.

Mark, “As with punk, radical politics were the only politics that ever interested me – as soon as I was aware of politics. I lived in Canada when I was young and was very aware of the Patty Hearst kidnapping, Black Power at the Olympics and the kidnappings in Quebec in the ‘70s. As I’m writing, people are massed in Genoa on the TV and the world is taking notice. My favorite band at the time of early punk was The Clash. I think the same would be true of Josef and Curtis although Curtis probably favored The Damned. We would get backstage at Clash gigs and chat with the band members. I was gutted when I realized they’d sold us all up the river in “Whiteman In Hammersmith Palais”. I remember listening to it over and over again. “Stay Free” was an anthem to the youth in Yeovil, Weymouth where we hanged at the time.”

With bass player Curtis and drummer Graham Fallows, Mark formed the Mob playing an anarchic form of punk completely autonomous to what was happening in London. A punk band with a unique and personal perspective, the Mob drew from local and outside influences. But like the most common story in British punk, they were largely driven to escape for boredom of daily life.

Mark, “The West Country is a totally tedious place to live when you’re young and boredom breeds bands. I remember the Buzzcocks singing ‘Boredom’ and I thought, ‘you’ve no idea – you live in Manchester.’”

More open to different ideas, the Mob were less antagonistic towards the hippies. A local performance from Here & Now proved to be something of an epiphany.
Mark, ““When we were doing our “trying to blag a gig job” we met up with Here & Now who were playing in Yeovil. We found we shared a lot of ideals with these people. They were doing tours, playing for nothings and passing the hat round after to get the money to get to the next gig. We tagged along and followed them to Holland where we indulged heavily in the “relaxed” atmosphere. If you listen to Gavin’s synthesizer or Steffi playing guitar you could hear so much of what today would be called “dance” music. They were way ahead of our times – we all were to some extent. We’re talking about at time where you would be beaten up in Yeovil for not wearing flairs and having short hair. This was all a brave new world to me.”

In general, it seems that the “Never Trust A Hippie” vibe was more Sex Pistols agit-prop than the reality of the times.

Mark, “I think when people talk of conflict between punks and hippies it was always more to do with student Genesis fans etc. Funny enough, these days I’m referred to as “Hippy Mark” by my Gypsy acquaintances. They mean it condescendingly but it amuses me to no end. In this country hippy has come to represent a wild spirit that lives in a bus and is at war with society (although the truth is probably saddeningly different).

“We called the album “Let The Tribe Increase” to reflect all this It was somewhat what I had in mind – but I’m not sure the reality lives up to the dream although it’s fair to say that it does for a great many people.
“I think that punks mixing with hippies was usually ok – we both wanted to change the world. We introduced hippie children to punk rock at free festivals. They would all dive on the stage and pogo along while the shocked hippies stood and watched. I like to think we appealed to the disaffected of whatever persuasion. We used to have hellish trouble at gigs in Somerset in the early days but that was mostly with bikers.”

Josef, “…Here & Now were far more radical and influential than any of the bands who came onto the scene through Crass Records. If it hadn't been for them, The Mob would probably never have left Somerset, and almost certainly wouldn't have followed the Anarchist line.”
Though not a direct connection to Stonehenge as with Crass, the Free Fest scene was both a vivid childhood memory for Mark as well as an inspiration.

Mark, “When I was at school, we had a day trip to London and we drove past what must have been about 500 hippies camped by Stonehenge. I don’t know what it was but I thought it was fucking fantastic – it was like a scene of outright “fuck you” defiance and celebration all at once. As soon as I was old enough to go out without my Mum, we would go to the festival and spend a week or a month towards the end of it camped out by Stonehenge. The last year of the festival, there were 30,000 of us for a month – un-policed and getting on fine – in my mind it was proof that we could govern ourselves. And the government seen it too – and they smashed it to pieces and replaced it with heroin.”

At this point, at the end of the ‘70s, DIY was a staple in the punk scene with self-published fanzines, indie labels and bands working without managers. In the country, it was set free to manifest itself in different ways. For the Mob, they were lucky enough to have made friends with Here & Now and gained access to their touring resources.

Joining Here & Now for a series of free tours, as Alternative TV had done previously, the Mob were able to develop their sound quickly putting together a set. It also gave them the chance to play abroad for the first time. Many of these early versions of their songs appeared in numerous cassette compilations sold at the performances through Here and Now.

Josef, “Seekers of unreleased Mob songs might look out for 'Weird Tales', a compilation of bands from the tours, which features 4 tracks from the band's tour in Holland with Here & Now. ‘Youth’, ‘Crying Again’, ‘Never Really Cared’ and ‘Frustration’. The latter written and sung by Graham.”

These free festivals were a testament to the groups adherence to the community’s cooperative vibe. Money and musical career were not part of the picture.

Mark, “We just played when we could and where we could. We were never driven to be big stars.”
This friendship with Here & Now would also bring them together with other likeminded punk bands like the Androids of Mu and Zounds. Eventually these support acts found themselves together on tour organizing their own free shows under the title Weird Tales.

Mark, “Weird Tales was like a tour of Here & Now support bands. Grant was along for the ride. It was organized by JB a legend of the Latimer Road squatting scene and the Acklam Hall in Portobello. We met up with lots of other like-minded people whilst on this tour and I think it’s where Zounds met Crass. It was interesting how Zounds underwent a transition from hippy “guitar solo” band to punk band overnight under Crass’ guidance. It always amuses me when people say about Zounds being a punk band. Although they were fundamentally the same songs, their entire set was “punked up” to go with the new image (Not that this matters of course).”

Josef, “Just before I joined Zounds, they were touring with The Mob and The Androids of Mu in an old bus. The tours were known as The Weird Tales, and the idea was that all the shows were free, and a collection was taken. Needless to say it was doomed to failure, as your average UK anarcho would rather spend money on cider.... The bands had all been support acts for Here & Now, who had started the whole thing up. One night they got a puncture somewhere out in Essex, and entirely by accident, some of Crass happened by and fixed it for them. They liked what the bands were doing and invited Zounds, and subsequently The Mob, to record for them.”

The tours weren’t without incident.

Josef, “Actually their was some enmity between Zounds and The Mob, stemming from the 'Weird Tales' tours. Zounds more mature rational perception of anarchism and politics didn't mix well with The Mob's 'vivid but vague' approach.”

‘Vivid but vague’ was certainly an accurate way to describe any overreaching ideology for the group.
Mark in Kill Your Pet Puppy fanzine, “I’d like to see a society built on trust, where everyone trusted everyone else until they couldn’t be trusted anymore, then carried on trusting them anyway. Eventually this would instill enough trust into people so they could give it back. I can’t do it myself yet. I’d like to. If this is anarchy we’re anarchists.”

After the free tours, the group was somewhat in the mode of DIY and by 1980 decided to do a record on their own. Rather than send off demo tapes to established record labels, the started their own label.

Mark, “I never had the slightest interest in mainstream success. It would be the easiest thing in the world to write popular songs with catchy tunes. But that’s no interest to me. Here & Now enjoyed small success probably along the same lines as ourselves. Like I said before, we were before out time.”

All The Madmen was the Mob’s label, though originally a fanzine and a way to release the super obscure “England’s Glory” 7” by the Review. Financing the initial operation was someone named Captain Max. Josef, “No history of The Mob should omit Captain Max. Max was Mark's friend and ally throughout, and as far as I know is with him still. 96 Tapes released a cassette of Captain Max and the Flying Pigs, which was Me, Curtis , and any others who felt like it, with Max singing piss-take covers of old rock and roll songs.

“He also traveled as roadie for Zounds to Europe, and is a far more prominent figure in the Mob's personal legend than me - I think he put up the money for Youth/Crying Again. He was there all along. I was just the drummer for the last couple of years.”
Mark, “We borrowed the money off Max. There were loads of us that hung around at Geoff’s house, 20 Larkhill Rd in Yeovil. We made a fanzine “All The Madmen” there was a group of about 20 of us that loosely did everything together. Max was the only one who had a job. He kept us all in beer and drugs.”

Their rawest studio recording, “Crying Again/Youth” 7” sounds something like a really well done demo. The whole thing was recorded and mixed inexpensively through their Here & Now connections.

Mark, “We recorded the single with Grant Showbiz from Here & Now. He later worked with the Fall and the Smiths. I don’t recall a lot about it to be honest.”
Josef, “I wasn't around then, so I can't really say much about that. I think they made 500, but it was pretty dreadful. The best thing about it is Graham Fallows, the original drummer. He was absolutely the best - he started playing when he was about six. Listen to the way he plays ‘Witch Hunt’. I always hated trying to play that song, because without him it just sounded limp-wristed.”

Not nearly as dire as Josef makes it out to be, the two songs capture a lot of the elements that would be key to the Mob’s sound. “Crying Again” is both an emotive personal song as well as a memorably catchy punk song.

Time spins around
The wall closes in
I think of the places I used to know
And I’m crying again

“Youth” is a quirky slower track with something of a dub rhythm. The creative drum work colors the repetitive bass line. The descriptive lyrics are sung somewhere between anger and disgust.

He’s disgusted
Mixed up

Mark, “This was very early days and “Youth” was our big number live in Yeovil. John Peel started playing it on Radio 1 at night. But he preferred “Crying Again” so that got taken on as the A side by most people. I don’t like either of them much.”

Using the little resources they had, they were able to sort out just one pressing of 500 copies.
Mark, “We released it on our own ‘cos that was the thing to do – it was what everyone was doing – you could put it out yourself for about 500 pounds.”
The 7” was also the beginning of their working with local artist Wilf who would do the rest of their cover art.

Mark, “Wilf hung around on the fringe of the Yeovil scene. He was a brilliant artist and I’d love to know how he’s getting on. I have a couple of watercolors that he did for “Let The Tribe Increase” that were never used.”

Josef, “As for the artwork, that was all done by a chap from Yeovil called Wilf. Most of the faces he drew are fairly accurate portraits of people from the town that he knew, and his specialty was accurate drawings of helicopters, which constitute the local industry at Westland's in Yeovilton.”

While there wasn’t an anarcho scene in their area at the time, they did find gigs with other local punk bands.

Mark, “The time we spent in Yeovil was previous to the anarcho scene. The bands we were around then were Bikini Mutants and Steve Rudalls Weymouth based Dead Popstars.”
But the London anarcho scene was still influential.

Mark, “We listened to a little bit of Crass but more so the Poison Girls. I was attracted by their politics much more than their music.”
The Mob quickly followed up “Crying Again” with “Witch Hunt” which would be one of their defining songs.

Mark, “We released “Witch Hunt” when we were still in Yeovil. It took months for us to raise the money to release it. I got in my girlfriend’s Dad’s car to get a lift home one night and it was on the radio. There were hundreds of minor classic songs released on obscure labels that never really got heard as much as they deserved. “Witch Hunt” was right up there with them.”

Not a hardcore song at all, not a normal garage band sound, it’s hard to exactly pinpoint what the Mob sound like especially at this stage. While it’s not at all your usual rock structure, it’s somehow catchy as hell.

“Witch Hunt” is also the first song from the Mob to really create the eerie atmosphere that has made them so fascinating to the goth crowd. While possible to find a political context to the song, it certainly can stand alone as evocative.

Stubbing out progress where seeds are sown
Killing off anything that’s not quite known
Sitting around in a nice safe home
Waiting for the witch hunt

By the time the record finally went out of print, they had gone through many pressings with foldout as well as glued sleeves.

Now wanting to find more likeminded people, Mark and Curtis decided to relocate to London.
Mark, “Me and Curtis were keen to spend more time with like-minded people which inevitably led us to London. I’d fell for a girl that lived in London and didn’t go back to Yeovil very often.”

Said Mark in Kill Your Pet Puppy fanzine, “(We) have drifted further apart through having more opportunity to develop our own individual things. In the sticks you’re tied together through isolation, in London you can spread out much more… Being with people of similar belief most of the time makes it easier to cope with things like loneliness, insecurity or these feelings like you think you’re the only person for miles around who doesn’t believe in the state, the police, fighting and football; which is how it was in Somerset.”

Lance Hahn 1967-2007

Just found this on http://mog.com/Lil_Mike/blog_post/119829

Lance was working on a book 'Let the Tribe Increase' when he died, which we discessed via e-mail. He sent me a few sample chapters. I will look for one and blog later.

End of Line For J Church: Lance Hahn R.I.P

Artist: Album: Track:
The Coalition of Aging Rockers has lost a comrade, and he likely was the cleanest liver of the bitter bunch, the least alcoholic and most studious, but it was his damn kidneys that gave out anyway at the age of 40. Billy Joel & later Me First & The Gimme Gimmes have reminded me musically that “only the good die young”, and indeed that seems true, as we have sadly lost another one of the good guys.

Longtime local SF musician Lance Hahn, who lovingly named his punk rock band after his favorite Muni streetcar line has died after long battles with kidney ailments in an Austin Texas hospital this past weekend. Best known for fronting his band J Church, Hahn operated out of San Francisco from the early 90’s for almost a decade until he relocated from a flat near 16th on Valencia St to Austin in 2000.

He had originally come from Hawaii circa 1990 with a scrappy trio known as Cringer, which played shows at venues like The Women’s Building, Komotion & Berkeley’s Gilman St Project. Eventually he formed J-Church which released literally hundreds of recordings on tiny indie record labels all over the world including his own Honey Bear imprint. While not a technically gifted singer, he parlayed a vast array of musical influences including everything from Crass, Radiohead, Adam & The Ants to ELO , into a blend of pop infused punk that became uniquely identifiable & influential, remaining well regarded in the underground music scene.

He had no shortage of themes & subjects, composing improbable rock titles like “Leni Riefenstahl’s Tinder Box”, “The Dramatic History Of A Boring Town” , or “Socialist Newspaper”, all the while delivering each song with an overall emotional sincerity rarely heard in a jaded age. One memorable release to check out would have to be his Mission District opus “Camels, Spilled Coronas & The Sound of Mariachi Bands”. For those who’d like a broader overview, perhaps the compilation of rare 7” tracks called “Nostalgic for Nothing”.

J-Church had a rotating line-up, with Hahn being the sole consistent member & songwriter. In addition to fronting Cringer & J-Church, he toured as a guitarist in Beck’s band in 1994-95. He is survived by his longtime girlfriend Liberty, they had no children.

A man with friends, fans & admirers literally all over the world, there’s a chance Hahn left behind much more here on earth than a prolific discography of obscure vinyl 7” singles. For a spell in the latter 1990’s, he was known to be supplementing his meager income with visits to a certain Berkeley sperm bank…

Watch out world… who knows for sure, perhaps lil’ Lance’s may indeed be sprouting everywhere…

If there are no biological heirs, there are at least many “logical” heirs. Tons of kids too young to have ever seen J-Church or Cringer at their peaks, but who’ve been influenced & touched ever so remotely by this guy’s music, writing & inspirational D.I.Y influence abound.
Aside from his handy presence at the local sperm bank, Lance worked just as hard behind the scenes helping others as he ever did at the mic, and was known for his writing in Maximum Rock & Roll & Giant Robot magazine, as well as working at indie record distributors like Revolver, Blacklist Mailorder and Epicenter Records. His overall “situationist “viewpoints didn’t preclude a little capitalist wage slavery and you might’ve seen him behind the counter at Lost Weekend video in SF or later on at Sound Exchange in Austin. His final job was working at Austin’s Vulcan Video store, before he went in for dialysis one day earlier this month, and fell tragically into a coma.

I believe the next time I play that damn J-Church “Kittums In A Coma” single, It’ll have a whole different resonance for me.
A tribute album had recently been organized amongst 5 labels to help raise dough to pay some of his mounting medical bills, as the uninsured musician fell into declining health. There were operations, bleeding sockets left in him, and numerous agonizing dialysis sessions that made bleak his final year. The Vulcan Video website still has a link to help pay his medical bills, which remain a huge burden.

The Lance I remember meeting in the dawn of the 90’s had a swift wit and great sense of humor, and we could trade barbs at empty venues during soundchecks and in dusty record filled warehouses for hours. He had a great spirit, took music & politics seriously and was always indefatigably willing to play a benefit show for a lost cause. Over the years, I sensed him getting more solemn, distant, deeper & more internally driven, and perhaps he instinctively knew he would not be long on this spinning orb. He pushed himself on tours across continents in a real race against time, left a creative trail of entertaining intellectual crumbs, gave it his all, and truly delivered. And …he is gone…
One of a kind…
R.I.P Lance Hahn 1967 – 2007

Global warming heats up...

Atmospheric CO2 levels rising faster than expected

[Date: 2007-10-23]

Levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere have increased faster than expected during the past few years, according to an international team of scientists. The researchers, whose work was partly funded by the EU, attribute the sharp rise in CO2 levels to three factors.

'Since 2000, a growing global economy, an increase in the carbon emissions required to produce each unit of economic activity, and a decreasing efficiency of carbon sinks on land and in oceans have combined to produce the most rapid seven-year increase in atmospheric CO2 since the beginning of continuous atmospheric monitoring in 1959,' the researchers explain in their paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (PNAS).

The growth of the world economy accounts for 65% of the acceleration in the CO2 levels of the atmosphere, states the paper, with the other two factors each accounting for half of the remaining 35%. However, it is these other two factors - the carbon intensity of the economy and the weakening carbon sinks - which are of particular concern.

The scientists note that until recently, the carbon intensity of the economy, which refers to the amount of CO2 emitted per economic unit, was improving. The carbon intensity of the gross world product fell from 0.35 kg of carbon per dollar in 1970 to 0.24 kg of carbon per dollar in 2000. Almost all scenarios for future emissions assume that this improvement will continue well into the future.

The researchers reveal that since 2000, the carbon intensity of the economy stopped improving and started to deteriorate at a rate of 0.3% per year. They warn that this trend, coupled with rapidly rising emissions, 'amplifies the challenge of stabilising atmospheric CO2'.

The third factor contributing to the sudden rise in CO2 levels is the declining efficiency of the world's natural carbon sinks.

'The proportion of carbon dioxide remaining in the atmosphere after vegetation and the oceans absorb what they can has escalated over the past 50 years, showing a decrease in the planet's ability to absorb anthropogenic emissions,' explained Dr Pep Canadell, the study's lead author and Executive Director of the Global Carbon Project. 'Fifty years ago, for every tonne of CO2 emitted, 600kg were removed by natural sinks. In 2006 only 550kg were removed per tonne and that amount is falling.'

Half of the decline in the efficiency of the oceanic carbon sink is due to changes in the westerly winds in the Southern Ocean, which are themselves driven by human activities. On land, a series of droughts in 2002 to 2005 contributed to a weakening of the terrestrial carbon sinks in many regions.

'The carbon cycle is generating stronger-than-expected and sooner-than-expected climate 'forcing' - that is, mechanisms that 'force' the climate to change,' explained Dr Mike Raupach of Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. 'In turn, climate change itself is feeding back to affect the carbon cycle, decreasing land and ocean sinks.'

'The decline in global sink efficiency suggests stabilisation of atmospheric CO2 is even more difficult to achieve than previously thought,' added Dr Corinne Le Quéré of the University of East Anglia and the British Antarctic Survey.

According to Dr Raupach, the new results underline the urgency of bringing global CO2 emissions under control. 'We have found that the Earth is losing its restorative capacity to absorb CO2 emissions in the face of the massive increases in emissions over the last half century. The longer we delay reducing emissions, the more restorative capacity will be lost,' he warned.

EU funding for the study came from the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) CARBOCEAN and CARBOEUROPE projects.

For more information, please visit:

Category: Project Results
Data Source Provider: Global Carbon Project, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)
Document Reference: Canadell, JG et al. (2007) Contributions to accelerating atmospheric CO2 growth from economic activity, carbon intensity, and efficiency of natural sinks. PNAS, published 22 October 2007.
Programme or Service Acronym: FP6-INTEGRATING, FP6-SUSTDEV, FRAMEWORK 6C
Subject Index: Climate change & Carbon cycle research; Coordination, Cooperation; Economic Aspects; Scientific Research; Sustainable development

RCN: 28561

Friday, October 19, 2007

Starving 5000 at Shepherd's Bush Empire

The pages of The Guardian, like the pages of The Sun, are just a load of fucking lies, are just a fucking con. Punk was once an answer to years of crap, a way of saying no where we'd always said yep. They said that we were trash, well the name was Crass, not Clash. They can stuff their punk credentials cause it's them that take the cash. Yes that's right, punk is dead, it's just another cheap product for the consumers head. Schoolboy sedition backed by big time promoters but its not for revolution, it's just for cash. Punk became a fashion just like hippy used to be and it ain't got a thing to do with you or me. Punk became a movement cos we all felt lost, but the leaders sold out and now we all pay the cost. Punk narcissism is social napalm.

"This guy asked me if I wanted to do 30 minutes for something, and I said the only way I will do it is if I had a half-hour slot to do The Starving of the 5,000," says Ignorant. "I think he was shocked. He was certainly silent for a long time on the end of the phone. It has snowballed from there and now all these other bands, like Flux of Pink Indians, are involved, too." We can become media personalities, but it is always on their terms. We're tired of living up to other people's expectations when our own are so much higher. Intelligence seems so easily dismissed when it doesn't conform to mainstream values.

Punk has spawned another rock and roll elite, cheap crass imitations thinking they'll change their world with dyed hair and predictable gestures. Nouveau wankers. There's a thousand empty stages waiting for their empty performances, a thousand empty faces waiting for their empty stances. How many times must we hear rehashed versions of Starving of the 5000 by jerks whose only fuck off to the system has been one off the wrist? It's the Starving of the 5 Knuckle Shuffle.

The choice of venue, the Shepherd's Bush Empire in London, has caused controversy among fans of the band. Crass usually played church halls and scout huts, with almost every gig being a benefit for CND, Rape Crisis or some other worthy cause. Internet message boards are abuzz with accusations of a sell-out. Anything and everything can be so easily institutionalised, a poor parody of itself. Itself contained by itself. There's no point in just mouthing the words. The token tantrums just aren't enough.

Exclusive clubs where the various tribes congratulate each other for doing fuck all will achieve nothing but the strengthening of the status quo. The choice of venue, the Shepherd's Bush Empire in London, has caused controversy among fans of the band. Crass usually played church halls and scout huts, with almost every gig being a benefit for CND, Rape Crisis or some other worthy cause. Internet message boards are abuzz with accusations of a sell-out.

"Some of the criticism from old fans has been spiteful and personal," says Ignorant. Entertainment is designed to gloss over real problems and very often those who profess dissent only add to the deception. Words are banded about, but always at the whim of the puppeteer. Actionless sloganeering is just another Punch and Judy show. "But I don't have to justify what I do. A lot of interviews on Crass in recent years have just not touched on how bloody good we were and what an amazing noise we made. Plus, most of the lyrics are still relevant today. And remember that three-letter word, 'fun'?" Fun can offer diversion, but it dilutes real anger and nothing gets confronted!

The biggest critic of Ignorant's London shows, though, has been another founder- member of Crass, Penny Rimbaud, whose hippie idealism gave Crass a good deal of its political grounding. Rimbaud initially refused Ignorant the right to perform Crass songs he had written. He has since granted permission, but without endorsing the gigs. Alternative values were a fucking con they never really meant it when they said "Do they owe us a living". They really meant "Let’s make a lot of money and worry about it later", don't you see? They stamped on our head so that they could be free. They formed little groups, like rich men’s communes tending their goats and organic tomatoes while the world was fucked by fascist regimes and talked of windmills and psychedelic dreams.

"I acknowledge and respect Steve's right to do this, but I do regard it as a betrayal of the Crass ethos," he says, citing "Yes Sir, I will", a Crass lyric from 24 years ago that could have been written with such an occasion in mind. The lyric in question speaks of bands performing "rehashed versions of The Starving of the 5,000", describing them as "the Starving of the Five Knuckle Shuffle".

And the more he speaks the angrier he gets. "I believe there are people coming in from Japan, who probably bought the whole deal like you would have for Queen in Paris or something," Rimbaud almost spits. "What has that got to do with the covert underground political movement that Crass was a part of? “ They talk from the screen and T.V. tube, talk revolution like it's processed food, talk anarchy from music hall stages looking for change in colour supplement pages. They think that by talking from some distant tower that something might change in the structure of power.

Banned from the Shepherd's Bush Empire ... O.K. I never much liked playing there anyway. They said they only wanted well behaved boys, do they think guitars and microphones are just fucking toys? Fuck 'em, I chosen to make my stand, against what I feel is wrong with this land. They just sit there on their overfed arses, Starving the 5000 off the sweat of less fortunate classes.

Recuperating Crass/ Guardian article

Recuperation : "To survive, the spectacle must have social control. It can recuperate a potentially threatening situation by shifting ground, creating dazzling alternatives- or by embracing the threat, making it safe and then selling it back to us" -- Larry Law, from The Spectacle- The Skeleton Keys, a 'Spectacular Times pocket book.

Yes that's right, punk is dead
It's just another cheap product for the consumers head
Bubblegum rock on plastic transistors
Schoolboy sedition backed by big time promoters
CBS promote the Clash
Ain't for revolution, it's just for cash
Punk became a fashion just like hippy used to be
Ain't got a thing to do with your or me

Movements are systems and systems kill
Movements are expressions of the public will
Punk became a movement cos we all felt lost
Leaders sold out and now we all pay the cost
Punk narcissism was a social napalm
Steve Jones started doing real harm
Preaching revolution, anarchy and change
Sucked from the system that had given him his name

Well I'm tired of staring through shit stained glass
Tired of staring up a superstars arse
I've got an arse and crap and a name
I'm just waiting for my fifteen minutes fame

And me, yes, I, do I want to burn?
Is there something I can learn?
Do I need a business man to promote my angle
Can I resist the carrots that fame and fortune dangle
I see the velvet zippies in their bondage gear
The social elite with safetypins in their ear
I watch and understand that it don't mean a thing
The scorpions might attack, but the systems stole the sting

Some product 4 u 2.... or buy, buy the damnation of your soul...

But will the gig get onto BBC 2/ The Culture Show?

'Why should we accept any less than a better way of doing things?'

They were the most extreme band of punk's first wave, influencing everyone from the DIY movement to, er, David Beckham. Ahead of a controversial retrospective gig, Iain Aitch looks at the cult of Crass Iain Aitch Friday October 19, 2007 Guardian

On stage at the Musician club in Leicester, something joyous is happening; yet the joy seems somewhat incongruous. This unsettling feeling is not down to the venue's odd setting on the edge of an industrial estate, but due to the words that are coming from Jeffery Lewis's mouth as he strums his battered acoustic guitar .

"Banned from the Roxy, OK," sings Lewis, a touch of his New York accent audible in his soft poetry-cum-nursery rhyme delivery. "I never much liked playing there, anyway."

The audience beam right back, bobbing their heads along to the jolly, bouncing pace that the rhythm section dictates. But for a few, mostly older, members of the audience, these words make the hairs on the back of the neck stand to attention.

Usually shouted with extreme venom, to a musical backing that was almost painful, Banned From the Roxy was written and first recorded by Crass, who were the most extreme band, musically, artistically and politically, to emerge from the initial wave of punk. The track comes from their 1978 debut 12-inch EP, The Feeding of the 5,000. The 18-track, 30-minute EP, on the Small Wonder label, retailed for just £1.99 (when albums of not much longer were selling for £3.99) and was quite unlike anything that had come before.

Lewis continues his set, throwing in most of the dozen Crass songs that make up his latest album, 12 Crass Songs. Lewis's cracked-voice folk style rids of them of their old snarling anger, but what does shine through is how amazing these songs are. With Crass, the typed lyric sheet that came inside their stencilled record sleeves was essential if you were to understand what was being said above the dissonant racket of open-tuned guitars. But in Lewis's hands, they become protest songs of the Phil Ochs school, offering solutions alongside the put-downs about those in power.

"They are just fantastic songs," says Lewis before the gig. "These are some of the best songs in the pantheon of songs, certainly as far as topical or political songs go. They are mind-blowing line after line; passionate and intelligent."

Crass were also famed for their ability to cram a vast number of expletives into their material, something Lewis has ironed out for his more gentle delivery. On The Feeding of the 5,000, this led to the album's opening track being a John Cage-esque silence, as pressing plant workers objected to what they saw as blasphemous lyrics.

The missing track was finally released in 1979 as the Reality Asylum single on the band's own Crass label. What was essentially sound-collaged poetry flew off the shelves. But because the price was pegged to "no more than 45p", the band lost money on every copy. In the long term, though, Reality Asylum, with the distinctive Crass logo on the front, forged an aesthetic that was a profound force in independent music in the early 80s (a few years back, David Beckham was pictured in the papers wearing a T-shirt featuring the Crass logo in diamante studs. Did he understand what he was wearing, or the irony of a luxury Crass T-shirt even existing?) Their records topped the indie charts for weeks on end - helped by the pricing policy - in the days when that meant tens of thousands of sales, and their label put out music by, among others, Chumbawamba and Björk, when she was the singer of Icelandic punk band Kukl. They also inspired hundreds more aspiring bands.

"Even though they may be considered extremists, as the music is extreme, a lot of it is perfectly rational," says Lewis. "They offer such an uncompromising vision, which is: 'Why should we accept anything less than a better way of doing things?' They ran everything as a band themselves and were not involved in the regular industry machine. They were the spearhead of DIY and creative networking."

Lewis works in a similar way to Crass. Sleeping on fans' floors rather than in hotels and booking his own tours, often with the assistance of audience members who ask if he would consider playing their town next time around. Another characteristic Lewis shares with Crass is the desire to educate. Crass would send fans leaflets (usually self-produced) on topics ranging from vegetarianism to environmentalism to nuclear disarmament, introducing a slew of working- class punks to traditionally middle-class ideals. The records came elaborately packaged with dense screeds of polemic. So effective was their propaganda, in fact, that they were courted by the KGB and the IRA, and monitored at their Epping commune by MI5.

Lewis's educative efforts are compelling to witness. He doubles as a comic-book artist, bringing this skill to the stage in Leicester to give what can only be referred to as a multimedia presentation. As he sings, he flips through an oversized pad containing images about the history of the written word.

Lewis's album comes at the pinnacle of a resurgence of interest in Crass, with two recent books, a film, several compilations of related sounds and at least one more book on the way. This renewed enthusiasm has also dragged Crass vocalist Steve Ignorant out of retirement for a one-off weekend of gigs in London. This is being heralded as the closest thing to a Crass gig since the band split in 1984, retreating to organic gardens and artists' studios. The band had always threatened to call it a day at the preset Orwellian sell-by-date, but their eventual demise was the result of years of being held up as leaders of a movement they had inadvertently created.

"This guy asked me if I wanted to do 30 minutes for something, and I said the only way I will do it is if I had a half-hour slot to do The Feeding of the 5,000," says Ignorant. "I think he was shocked. He was certainly silent for a long time on the end of the phone. It has snowballed from there and now all these other bands, like Flux of Pink Indians, are involved, too."

The choice of venue, the Shepherd's Bush Empire in London, has caused controversy among fans of the band. Crass usually played church halls and scout huts, with almost every gig being a benefit for CND, Rape Crisis or some other worthy cause. Internet message boards are abuzz with accusations of a sell-out.

"Some of the criticism from old fans has been spiteful and personal," says Ignorant. "But I don't have to justify what I do. A lot of interviews on Crass in recent years have just not touched on how bloody good we were and what an amazing noise we made. Plus, most of the lyrics are still relevant today. And remember that three-letter word, 'fun'?"

Fun is not something most would associate with Crass, but it is often forgotten that they had a wonderfully subversive sense of humour, once releasing a Christmas single of their hits played on a cheap keyboard, much to the bemusement of hardcore fans, as well as hoaxing the teen magazine Loving into giving away an anti-marriage flexi-disc they had recorded.

They even signed off their best-of compilation Best Before with the run-out groove of the vinyl repeating the words "We only did it for a laugh," hinting that those who followed the band's every word may themselves have simply been the victims of a complex situationist prank.

But Ignorant finds nothing to laugh about in the reaction to favouring a non-revolutionary beneficiary for some of the door money from the weekend. "Some of the money is going to a benefit, which is something this promoter always does," he says. "I said I would like it to go to the local lifeboat [in Norfolk] and someone has heard about this and had a pop at me. Lifeboats save lives, they don't get any funding. The bloody cheek of people."

The biggest critic of Ignorant's London shows, though, has been another founder- member of Crass, Penny Rimbaud, whose hippie idealism gave Crass a good deal of its political grounding. Rimbaud initially refused Ignorant the right to perform Crass songs he had written. He has since granted permission, but without endorsing the gigs.

"I acknowledge and respect Steve's right to do this, but I do regard it as a betrayal of the Crass ethos," he says, citing a Crass lyric from 24 years ago that could have been written with such an occasion in mind. The lyric in question speaks of bands performing "rehashed versions of The Feeding of the 5,000", describing them as "the Feeding of the Five Knuckle Shuffle". And the more he speaks the angrier he gets.

"I believe there are people coming in from Japan, who probably bought the whole deal like you would have for Queen in Paris or something," Rimbaud almost spits. "What has that got to do with the covert underground political movement that Crass was a part of?"

More sanguine about the event is writer Ian Glasper, whose book, The Day the Country Died, explores the history of the bands inspired by Crass. He is also playing bass for support act Flux of Pink Indians, who released their first single on the Crass label in 1981.

"I think if you take Crass's songs, then the sentiments are still relevant, especially as a force for awareness," he says. "They make people question what they read and what they see on TV. It certainly is something that encouraged me to think like that and to pass that way of thinking on to my children."

Whether the revival of interest in Crass inspires new free-thinking or is just an exercise in punk nostalgia, like the latest Sex Pistols reunion, remains to be seen. But the legacy of the band is undoubtedly all around, be it in the existence of a vegetarian food selection at your local supermarket, the stencilled artwork of Banksy or in the music of Jeffrey Lewis. Their name may mean little to most, and they may be absent from TV list shows and punk compilation albums, but theirs is a story that still has meaning.

12 Crass Songs by Jeffrey Lewis is out now on Rough Trade. Steve Ignorant performs The Feeding of the 5,000 at Shepherd's Bush Empire on November 24 and 25. The Feeding of the 5,000 is still available on Crass records

Monday, October 15, 2007

Class War inna Babylon

3rd November 2007 Notting Hill

Toffs Out!


Kill Your Pet Puppy Lives Again!

Tony D. has just told me that the Kill Your Pet Puppy website is now live.

Here is the link:


Here is what Tony says About KYPP:

KYPP was started by Tony D as a reaction to the way the original punk movement had been sucked into the hated Record Industry establishment.

Tony D was the founder and publisher of Ripped & Torn. When Thatcher was elected as prime minsister Tony moved to Europe and lived a bohemian lifestyle. Tony returned in September of that year and began work on a new publication that reflected punk life as it was under the Thatcher cosh: squatting, skinhead BNP attacks, speed being replaced by tuinol and scraping a rainbow life from the hell of reality.

This new publication became a reality after Joly of Better Badges agreed to print the new publication (then title unknown) in as many crazy colours as Tony wanted. Both wanted to experiment.

A name was born in the puppy collective hell of one room squatted by eight people with no bathroom or running water. Kill Your Pet Puppy was the chosen moniker.

The first issue was finished in time for the Ants new years eve concert at the Electric Ballroom Dec 79/Jan 80.

500 copies were finished and taken to the event. 500 copies were sold that night.

Nothing was to be the same again.

Kill Your Pet Puppy was alive.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

She's a punk rocker UK : film

Directed by Zillah of Rubella Ballet

She’s A Punk Rocker U.K. This is a one-hour film Documentary by and about Punk Rock Women 1977 Punk Rock an Oral History by the women who were part of Punk.

Punk women changed the public face of female. It was very empowering for universal women. The story of punk could almost be a women’s liberation story. 'Caroline Coon'. 1977 sees the explosion of a new subculture: Punk. Punk women were clearly visible by their appearance, clothes, makeup, hair, piercing and tattoos.

Punk was the first youth movement where women were equals. Prior to punk, women were seen as the girlfriends of skins, mods, hippies and teddy boys, but a female punk was a punk. Punks, both male and female, hit the media headlines from 1976 onwards. Moral outcry erupted as the media and officialdom proclaimed Punk Public Enemy Number One.

Being a punk was dangerous, so why did so many women become punks? Was it just about dressing up outrageously? Were these punk women treated as equal members of the subculture and how were they treated by the rest of society? How did being a punk affect their lives? Did punk woman directly influence society’s attitudes to women today.

The lives of these women will reveal an insight into female punks and a culture that has been greatly misunderstood and misrepresented in the media. Their personal oral histories explore their experiences of being a punk. Life stories, gigs, fashion, music, politics, friends, relations & events. The women to a varying extent agree that today they are still punks at heart, if not in appearance. Why did women want to be punks? How did they become punks? Socially what was happening in their lives? Was it a gradual move or a sudden overnight decision? Did being a punk change their lives? The present media interest in punk is a male-dominated vision of the era.

This programme reassesses - from the perspectives of punk women - women’s roles in a dynamic movement that irreversibly changed the face of society, politics, art and music. Director: Zillah Minx – Lead singer with punk band Rubella Ballet since 1976..... www.myspace/rubellaballet.com...... Producer: Mark Saunders, Exodus from Babylon, The truth Lies in Rostock & The Battle of Trafalgar..... http://www.spectacle.co.uk

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Save Meanwhile Gardens Campaign

Save Meanwhile Gardens Campaign

Meanwhile Gardens in west London is under threat- the local council want to build luxury flats on the site.

On the new Mob cd ‘may inspire revolutionary acts‘ (due out 26 November) there are three live tracks recorded by Protag at Meanwhile Gardens in 1983 [Raised in a Prison, Gates of Hell and Witch Hunt).

Just had this e-mail

Hi Alistair,
The save meanwhile gardens campaign now has a website at www.savemeanwhile.com. We are trying to get as many people as possible to sign the online petition, which sends an email to all the powers that be.
Over the last 3 days, we had almost 200 unique visitors and the Council is taking notice. Your help in spreading the word would be great!
Amir Akhrif

There is not much on the website yet - mainly a Westway tv interview with a local councillor, but at http://www.mgca.f2s.com/ there is a PDF file of the Meanwhile Gardens 2006 Annual report. This has lots of pics of features in the Gardens and details of the work done.

Meanwhile Gardens date back to 1976. They survived Maggie Thatcher and Tony Blair, but it does not look like they will survive Gordon Brown and London’s new greed economy which is based on ’financial services ‘ or ‘lets make a lot of money and worry about it later’.

Now is later, so start worrying and get active. Meanwhile Gardens is part of the forgotten/ denied history of ‘Cultures of Resistance’ which greengalloway exists to remember. So if you remember Meanwhile Gardens, support the campaign…

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Mob cd out 26th November

The new Mob cd "May inspire revolutionary acts" will be released by Overground Records

on 26th November 2007

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

New Mob cd out now

I was quietly celebrating my 49th (cough) birthday on Sunday when I got an e-mail from John Esplen of Overground Records asking for my address so he could send me a copy of their new Mob record : "May inspire revolutionary acts" : OVER115VP CD

It came this morning. It has 20 tracks, the first 9 taken from the 1981 Ching cassette, then a version of Crying Again from 1979, the original (pre- Penny Rimbaud remix) version of No Doves Fly Here, 4 tracks from the 1980 'A Tribute to Bert Weedon' cassette and the final three tracks recorded live at Meanwhile Gardens 1983. Plus a booklet of photos, Mob graphics and details of the original recordings ... and some text by myself.

Listening to it has sent a few shivers down my back bone. My memories of those early eighties days seem so distant, so far away, yet the music is so fresh, so immediate. Timeless even.

I could say more. But then I already have. So go and do yourself a favour, unplug your mp3 player and try another flavour... and let the tribe increase.